Millennials have gone nuts for an old-fashioned decor style straight from Grandma’s house dubbed “grandmillennial,” and now that warm weather is here, it’s no surprise that they’re taking this look outdoors, too.
Millennials are embracing this throwback look in part because it’s affordable—after all, grabbing vintage items from estate sales or DIY wares off Etsy is often more budget-friendly than buying new. And for patios, decks, and other spaces outside the home, it lends a genteel, sophisticated vibe to an otherwise casual gathering.
“It’s definitely a nostalgic look that can be done cheaply, but still appear refined and civilized for entertaining,” says Ana Cummings, who owns an eponymous design firm.
However, too much granny chic, she warns, can veer fuddy-duddy in a hot minute. Here’s how to strike the right balance and pull off grandmillennial outdoor decor that’ll feel fresh and quaint rather than sadly dated, plus some key pieces to consider getting.
Drew Henry, interior stylist and lifestyle blogger at Design Dudes, votes for wicker or rattan furniture on a grandmillennial patio.
“Think ‘Golden Girls,'” he says, referring to the iconic TV show’s set design awash in this natural, sustainable material.
The chairs here are a lovely example that works equally well inside on a sun porch or as part of an outdoor living room. Faux rattan will also resist rain, and the retro lines of this pair of chairs ($599 for two, West Elm) allow them to fit well in small spots.
Nothing is more grandmotherly than a bunch of lilacs.
“You should absolutely accent this kind of outdoor space with any floral prints—I’d go for ones in shades of pink, purple, and green,” says Henry.
Other granny-approved patterns include gingham, chintz, and William Morris–style prints, adds Cummings.
Consider a tablecloth like this pretty (and affordable) number ($7 and up, Wayfair), which comes in both square and rectangular shapes and sports a flannel backing to protect table surfaces.
Nix camper-style and Coleman coolers for single-bottle wine vessels filled with ice.
“Champagne coolers, like the kind you’d find on the Orient Express, are what you want here,” says Cummings.
This pick ($68, Etsy) won’t break the bank as it’s silver plate, and the classic trophy shape is sturdy enough for outdoor use.
“And do I have to mention proper stemware? No red Solo cups here,” she urges.
An outdoor rug in soft pink or pastels
Blush and rose tones are the ideal colors to match a verdant lawn or climbing ivy around your deck or screen porch.
Cummings suggests adding a rug to set up your own tableau under a pergola or gazebo as if you’re “picnicking a la ‘Bridgerton.'”
This indoor-outdoor rug ($70, Target) comes in two sizes and feels soft underfoot.
Drinks are de rigueur on a grandmillennial patio—and serving them on a slim wheeled cart ($100, Target) saves space. And a welcome pop of citron cuts through the many softer hues that tend to hog this style’s spotlight.
Pile up your cart with an ice bucket and cloth napkins for tasty snacks.
Stylish yet safe, these attractive goblets ($38 for eight, Wayfair) work well to channel old-fashioned vibes. At 20 ounces, they’re large enough for iced tea or sangria, and the BPA-free plastic won’t break when your guests knock them over the railing.
Animal print pillows
Leopard or zebra accents are a much-needed update that’ll add a modern vibe to your granny patio design. Try this well-priced pair ($50 for two, Overstock), which comes in five sizes and is crafted from durable outdoor fabric that’s also UV-resistant so the colors won’t fade.
Grandmillenial decor leans hard on trims and fancy edges (think lace, pompoms, scallops, and more). This fringed pick ($85, Amazon) is ideal on a sunny deck or planted in the lawn; plus, it offers UPF 50-plus protection from the sun. Add in the base for a more permanent home, or just get the umbrella and tote it in the matching carrying case to the beach.